Annual ‘SACCY’ Award
This award is given annually to recognize one individual, organization or business from South Dakota who has shown distinguished service to an OST program, or the OST field in general; and exemplifies dedication to, support of, and advocacy for school age care. Established in 2000, the award is presented at the SoDakSACA conference each year.
Sandy has been a member of SoDakSACA since it’s inception. She has worked at Kids Club Kids for the past 27 years, first as a part time employee and eventually a full time staff member with office duties and site coordinator duties. Sandy has served on the SoDakSACA board as a regional representative. I’m pretty positive Sandy has not missed a SoDakSACA conference or a Directors/Leadership Retreat since 2000. Sandy has also attended NAA when offered the chance.
Each year when it is conference time you can find Sandy volunteering for any duties that need coverage during the event. What you do not see is the hours behind the scenes she puts in during September to make the conference a success. Decorations, guessing games, supporting her boss so she can work on conference duties to name a few. Sandy is on of the people that truly found their calling when they began working in afterschool. She knows the difference that being here for the children and families during the hours school is not in session makes to the whole community. She volunteers in the community helping with theatre events, art events etc. At each event she is finding ways to include the youth of the program. Sandy creates opportunities for the children in Kids Club Kids to participate in events, creating a community connection for them. She teaches lifelong hobbies like crocheting and knitting to the kids at KCK. She is very involved in the kindergarten transition to school as well as the 5th grade transition out of KCK. Making sure each age group has what they need to be successful and safe. Sandy is an advocate not only for KCK in Spearfish, but also for afterschool programming across the state. The community of Spearfish, the Spearfish School District and the families of the KCK program appreciate all that she does for kids during the afterschool hours, never expecting recognition, just watching the children grow to successful adults has been kudo enough.
Carrie Robley started her career with YFS as a Girls Health Connection Advocate 22 years ago. Carrie shows her passion for serving young girls by coordinating health services for them, assisting them to get to appointments, providing information and support the them and their families. She has worked through YFS GHC for five years, after which she became the director of the program, still carrying a caseload and also training and supervising other advocates. When the position came open in 2006, Carrie applied and was selected to be the Director of Girls Inc, where she still serves today.
Steve Rokusek is a South Dakota native who currently works for SD Public TV as an education specialist. Steve has a passion for science and a talent to present lessons to youth that ignites their desire to learn more and do more.
For the 16 years of the SoDakSACA conference Mr. Rokusek has presented his hands on science activities and PBS curriculum for linestaff of OST. Each time he presents the room is at capacity and some are turned away due to space in the sessions. Steve is able to present science in a way that removes the preconceived notion that only a scientist can get excited and teach science. Line staff leave a Rokusek session with a passion and desire to take their new knowledge back to their OST site and get children excited about science.
Steven has always supported SoDakSACA by donating prizes to our conference, having an informational booth, and preparing presentations that are above and beyond a typical conference session. When he is not presenting he will usually be found at his booth teaching anyone who stops. Steven’s job allows him to travel across South Dakota and present to youth at various community events and schools. In as much as his presentations excite teachers, children are almost uncontrollable during his presentations. It is evident that Mr. Rokusek believes in quality programing for all youth in South Dakota and understands that the best way to have quality programming is to have highly trained and qualified staff just as the mission of SoDakSACA states: to promote quality Out-of-School Time programs for children and youth through professional development and public advocacy.
As professionals who cross paths throughout our career, I am always grateful for a moment’s conversation with Steve Rokusek, his knowledge, integrity, and dedication to the youth of South Dakota is immeasurable! Science Steve is so worthy of the SACCY!
Sue Burgard has worked to promote positive experiences for youth all of her career. Sue has been an educator in South Dakota and is currently the Director of 21st Century Community Learning Centers, with the South Dakota State Department of Education, a position she has held for 13 years. Sue was a volunteer with the Destination Imagination for many years, giving kids the afterschool enrichment experience before there were After School initiatives.
Sue was instrumental in the grant process that led to the South Dakota After School Partnership. Sue knew the great things that could come from the MOTT Foundation, Sue continues to serve on the steering committee for the Partnership.
Sue thinks outside the box to partner many agencies in South Dakota together to bring quality afterschool programs and presentations to the youth of South Dakota. The South Dakota Discovery Center, SoDakSACA, the Afterschool Partnership and all 21st Century Programs have worked together with Sue’s support for the growth of Afterschool Programing is South Dakota.
Ms. Burgard supports the mission of Quality afterschool programs. Although her title and job duties are tied to the programs awarded 21st Century CCLS funding, Sue’s passion for quality afterschool for all children is evident in her support of SoDakSACA both by serving on the board and by partnering with the SoDakSACA organization to offer training opportunities for the providers of Afterschool programs across the state. Sue realizes when we have highly qualified and trained staff in afterschool programs the youth WIN!
Sue can be found at conferences on both the state and national level both teaching and learning. Sue is a lifelong learner and is fully engaged while in attendance. Her desire for lifelong learning is evident. She has been, and continues to be, an active participant in the changes that Afterschool Programing has experienced in the last 20 year.
Sue’s level of professionalism is respected by all who work in the Afterschool field, and her guidance and support of the successes and challenges that the Afterschool industry has and is facing make her a wonderful candidate for this award.
Vickie has been working in the afterschool field for at least 12 years and has worn many hats. She began as a stie coordinator and worked her way to the Director position, where she has been for the last 7 years. She does an excellent job running a program with nearly 200 students and 13 staff members. She is always looking for ways to improve her program and attends many professional development events each year.
She has worked with her school district to ensure a quality program that follows the guidelines set forth by her board and school district.
Vickie has dedicated a lot of time to working on the SoDakSACA board of Directors. She has held the job of south eastern representative and has been treasurer the past few years. She has meticulously kept the finances in order and went above and beyond the duties of the treasurer.
She has also spent a lot of time organizing and promoting South Dakota Afterschool Day at the Capitol. The advocating outreach to the legislatures of South Dakota has continued due to her efforts.
2012 SACCY Co Winners
HOPE Program Newell and Ryan Zens
The Newell HOPE 21st CCLC program is worthy of the SACCY award because they truly encompass what a Community Learning Center is. Currently the HOPE program is in its 9th year as an afterschool program. The first year, the program was literally started out of the janitor’s closet. The principal told director Sherry Smeenk she could use the closet for storage for the program – Most after school programs can relate to that! She had one student at the time. What a difference 9 years makes! They now have their very own classroom and average 30 participants after school and 80 in the summer program.
They provide wonderful after-school and summer programming for all students. The variety of programming that is offered to the students is tremendous considering the rural location of Newell. The staff goes above and beyond to offer their students experiences they wouldn’t ordinarily get.
It’s often difficult to involve middle and high school students in after-school and summer programming, but Sherry and Sabrina try to bring the program to them as much as possible. Last year they held the first career day for middle and high school students. They invited local business owners to come and speak to the students. It was a chance for the students to see what job opportunities are available as well as hear from many local entrepreneurs.
Sherry and staff try as much as possible to incorporate the parents and community members as well. They have multiple family math and literacy nights throughout the year. They’ve hosted a “Be an Educated Voter” night to which the entire community was invited. The Secretary of State traveled to Newell to explain the major issues that were on the ballot that year. Two years ago the HOPE program organized a Veterans’ Day assembly which involved the school and entire community. It turned out to be the biggest program in years! The commitment this program shows to the students and the entire community is inspirational. The HOPE program is a testament to the fact that having limited resources shouldn’t be a barrier in providing meaningful after school activities.
Ryan Zens is the Director of the Fit-n-Fun After School Program in Rapid City. It is very apparent Ryan truly cares about school-age kids and providing a quality program experience for them.
Ryan wanted to become more involved in training, accreditation, and the SoDakSACA board of directors, so he did what anyone wanting to ‘make a difference’ would do. He stepped forward!
He first ran for Western Region representative for SoDakSACA several years ago and was involved in helping coordinate the annual Afterschool Day at the Capitol. Since then, he has served two terms as the VP of Professional Development/Conference Chair. He has taken the members on a wild ride and ‘hoedown’ in Deadwood (Yee Haw!), to a fun ‘Aloha Cruise’ in Mitchell, and to this year’s Mardi Gras event, making our annual conference a fun and exciting time – One everyone looks forward to each year.
Always concerned about staff professional development, Ryan has also helped to facilitate discussions with other directors and co-hosted training events on a regional basis to benefit not only his own program, but others as well. He has built relationships with numerous civic groups to assist with materials, activities, and resources for his and other programs. And, he touts the importance of afterschool to as many people as will listen, which is so important.
Ryan has attended the national conference many times. Having been involved with the EAFB program, which is accredited, Ryan volunteered to become a validator for NAA to assist in the national accreditation program and attended training for this with several others from SD several years ago. I know he hopes to have his own program become accredited in the future.
Ryan is a genuinely caring man who is truly committed to his program, the children his program serves, and the professionals working in our field. He is always willing to help other programs become the best they can be! This is a guy with a heart of gold and is a deserving recipient for the SACCY award…his star shines bright!
Marcy Urban, Director Of the Camp Oasis , with the community center in Belle Fourche, was recently honored by the South Dakota School-Age Care Alliance (SoDakSACA) at the annual meeting in Mitchell. Marcy was selected to receive the organization’s SACCY Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual, group, organization or business from South Dakota who has shown distinguished service to an out-of-school-time (OST) program or the OST field in general; and who exemplifies dedication to, support of, and advocacy for school-age care.
Her skills include grant writing, public speaking at conferences and local venues, advocacy with local and state legislators, including Afterschool Day at the Capitol and a willingness to go after what is needed to make a great program for her community. Her recent collaborations have included US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, County Extension and many local businesses.
Marcy’s dedication to Out of school time proves her to be a well deserved recipient of this award!!
SoDakSACA is proud to call Marcy our 2011 SACCY Award Winner!